What We Do

We work with all sorts of people, from dog owners and land managers to dog businesses and charities, conservation and countryside organisations.

Dorset Dogs provides free resources including online information, videos, leaflets and our one of a kind flagship map ‘Enjoying Dorset with your Dog’ featuring great places to walk in Dorset with your dog. Activities and events including Pitstops, Guided Walkies the Dorset Dogs Festival, webinars and seminars. We also carry out survey work and consultancy, innovative projects and campaigns and other work with dog owners, dog and countryside organisations, charities and land managers.

Dorset Dogs - What We Do - Pitstops

What’s a Pitstop?

Our Pitstop goes out to local places where people walk their dogs. In Dorset Dogs’ world it’s an opportunity to meet people and dogs out and about, catch up with members and greet new ones, keep in touch with people, places and dogs and find out about the local issues that are affecting you. We might be discussing wildlife that you’ve seen or raising awareness of wildlife you might not know is there, talk about things you particularly like about the places you walk and of course, your dog!

The physical parts of a Pitstop are the gazebo, the information display (which varies depending on where we are going and what people may be interested in), leaflets and activities plus we always take ‘Doggy Goody Bags’ to give away too.


We’re often invited to events and take the Dorset Dogs Pitstops to fun dog shows, fetes, fairs, community and other events. These are mostly at weekends or in holiday time and can be very busy – they’re also great fun!

People can find out more about Dorset Dogs, have a go at ‘pick up a (plasticine) poo’ to win a prize, or take away a Doggy Goody Bag that includes details of how to join Dorset Dogs, our unique ‘Enjoying Dorset with your Dog’ map as well as other goodies.

Guided Walkies

Our Guided Walkies have proved very popular over the years (you can see photos from past walks in Albums on our Facebook page). They are an opportunity to enjoy a sociable dog walk with other people and explore a new area.

Why not join a Dorset Dogs Guided Walkies? You will find details of upcoming walks on the What’s on page.

Dorset Dogs Festival

A fantastic, lively and good-natured annual celebration of dogs, wild creatures and natural places. There’s something for everyone, with displays in the show ring, have-a-go agility, stalls ranging from conservation and wildlife organisations to dog businesses and charities, a huge marquee, activities for dogs, guided walkies, refreshments and a fun dog show.

The Dorset Dogs Festival began in 2011, with a Festival every year (except 2014) up until we had to postpone due to the pandemic. The last few years have averaged over 40 stands, with thousands of visitors – around 4000 in 2019! Lovely venues have included Canford Park SANG, Upton Country Park, Poole Park, Potterne Park and Slades Open Space.

With the small Dorset Dogs team, the help and support of sponsors, friends and colleagues from many local authority Ranger Teams, the UHP team and Dorset Dogs volunteers has been essential to the success and fantastic goodwill generated at the Festival.

Dorset Dogs - What We Do - Festivals

Festival sponsors

Our thanks to Festival sponsors and everyone who has donated prizes, provided official photography and given their time for demonstrations and to run activities.

Festival Sponsors I-Mac Fire and Security (in recognition of the wonderful benefits of dogs for mental health and wellbeing), sponsors of the Fun Dog Show – Natterjacks Vet, Pal4Paws Pet Services and Pets at Home, everyone who has donated prizes over the years including Hillside Veterinary Centre, Dorset Dog Delights, Webster’s Empawrium, Fish4Dogs


We’ve installed our Doggy Do Code signs across heathlands and greenspaces to encourage dog owners enjoying the countryside to make small changes that make a BIG difference to wildlife.

Paw Print Symbols

These symbols are increasingly used in Dorset so that we can easily and clearly identify where our dogs can run free and where they need to be on a lead. We also use them on the ‘Out & About’ pages of this website.

This is intended as a guide only, please do follow signs on site and advice of site staff.

Dogs welcome off lead – This means that you can exercise freely off the lead. Please always keep your dog in sight and do not allow them to chase or disturb other visitors, wildlife or grazing animals. Please look after the area by picking up and binning your dog waste.

Dogs welcome on lead – You can walk your dog in this area but because of, for example, vulnerable wildlife on the ground or grazing animals you need to keep your dog on a lead. Please look after the area by picking up and binning your dog waste.

Sorry – no dogs – Children’s play areas, sports pitches, some parts of parks, field/sites with year round grazing animals and young are likely to fall into this category.

Some sites will have both on and off lead areas at certain times of year and may also have areas where dogs can not go, so will often have more than one colour of pawprint. Check on site for further information.


Pitstops have become extremely popular and we’re always grateful for more volunteers to join our wonderful volunteer team during the spring and summer! This means we don’t have to turn down so many events – we did around 50 one year! Even if you might only be able to help with a couple of events that would be so appreciated, and it’s a lovely way to meet lots of dogs and people of course!

Please do contact us to find out what volunteering opportunities we have available, what might be involved and whether you might potentially be interested in volunteering